Centeno confirms an economic slowdown is coming. Brexit and trade tensions are to blame

  • ECO News
  • 11 February 2019

Mário Centeno has recognized that the European Union is about the face an economic slowdown but noted that the EU's structures are nowadays much more resilient than before the crisis.

Mário Centeno, head of the Eurogroup, has admitted today that the economy is decelerating, mostly due to “the increase in political risks, which have been accumulating in the last few months, especially when it comes to Brexit and the trade tensions between China and the US”. Speaking to journalists at the Eurogroup’s meeting this Monday, Centeno also noted that “the Eurozone nowadays has much stronger structures and economic conditions than it had during the crisis”.

All 19 Eurozone’s finance ministers were gathered today to discuss the economic forecast published last week by the European Commission. On this forecast, Brussels showed that it is much more negative about the economic growth at the EA19 level, expecting GDP to grow by 1.3% in 2019. As for the Portuguese economic growth, it was also estimated to grow below the previous estimates, at 1.7% — and against the government’s 2.2% growth prospects.

“Europe knows it can do better than this”, Centeno added. “We have invested in several reforms and we are still, nowadays, debating the introduction of several new others for the Eurozone. We know we can improve the economic performance, and that’s what we should do”, he stated.

The Eurogroup will also discuss the conclusions of the last post-programme missions to Portugal and Ireland. Centeno says these two countries are “great examples of states coming out of the crisis with better economic, social and budgetary conditions”. “They are examples of stability and growth”, he added.

When asked if he could comment on the divergence in terms of economic growth estimates between the Portuguese government and Brussels’ executive body, Centeno noted only that “Portugal’s economic growth is creating deep roots, in structural terms, especially within the financial system and the job market. And that is what really matters today.”